Reported by Rikki King / Herald Writer
It might go something like this: You start your car to go to work. You run back inside the house to grab your coffee mug. You come back out. No more car. Thousands of people in Snohomish County become victims of car theft every year, according to police. What kinds of cars are most popular with thieves? Click here to see the top 10 most-stolen vehicles in Washington in 2012.
Older-model Hondas are made like building blocks, local cops say. There are lots out there, and the parts can be interchangeable. Some years’ models are relatively easy to steal if you know how. That’s why Accords and Civics top the list.
Newer Hondas have technology improvements to prevent theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Pickup trucks also are popular. Thieves in stolen pickups have been at the center of a number of high-profile crimes and crashes in Snohomish County this year. Marysville’s parks department had its 2007 Ford F-450 flat-bed stolen. It was later recovered.
Vehicles that are stolen sometimes show up nearby a short time later. They often are stripped of parts, the wiring sold for scrap. Sometimes they’re never found.
Under Washington law, stealing a car — or even possessing a stolen car — is a felony.
Auto-theft prevention tips
- Take your keys. One in five stolen vehicles have keys in it.
- Lock your car. Almost half of vehicles stolen are unlocked.
- Don’t hide an extra set of keys inside. They are easily found.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Consider investing in an electronic tracking device.
The Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force was formed about five years ago in part because of legislation sponsored by County Executive John Lovick, who then was a state lawmaker. The task force includes a lieutenant, a sergeant, three detectives, a prosecutor and a legal secretary.
In 2012, the group recovered 109 stolen vehicles, arrested 36 suspected car thieves and filed 44 car-theft charges.
For national and state-by-state data on stolen vehicles, go to the National Insurance Crime Bureau website at www.nicb.org.
SOURCES: National Insurance Crime Bureau and Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force.